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Expert concerned about amendments to Child Labour Act, 1986

Child Labour

Kolkata:  A prominent NGO has expressed concern on the proposed amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 and said there cannot be any condition to protect Child Rights.

“The amendment to Child Labour Act is welcome, but we are not content with some of its stand. The proposed amendment has allowed a small exemption that children below 14 years can work in family-based occupation and entertainment,” ‘Save the Children’, West Bengal’s Programme Manager Chittapriyo Sadhu said here.

“We would like to say that there cannot be any condition for the rights of the children. Their rights must be ensured without any conditions,” he said.

The Union Cabinet on May 13 had approved an amendment in the 1986 Child Labour Act by allowing children above 14 years to work in non-hazardous industries run by family.

“As a member of a child rights organisation, I always think that there must not be any compromise on the rights of a child. One child has the right to education, right to be with his/her parents and those rights must be protected,” he said.

Sadhu, however, praised certain features of the proposed amendment.

“But there are some positive sides in this proposed amendment too. Till today the Child Labour Act of 1986 has banned the employment of children up to 14 years in hazardous occupations. But the proposed Amendment bill has included children in the age group of 15 to 18 years by suggesting an adolescent group.. This is a good sign,” he said.

Besides, there is another proposed penal clause where the state government would provide an extra fund (Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund) meant for the rehabilitation of a child rescued, he said.

Talking about the issue, Deputy Commissioner West Bengal Labour Department Manisha Bhattacharya said, “It’s still not notified. At the moment we do not have much information on the amendment Bill and will not like to talk on this.”

She said that the state government with the help of police and district administration along with the association of Child in Need Institute (CINI) has rescued 117 children from different districts of the state in the last eight months’ time.

Meanwhile, Save the Children has organised post card campaign to hold the government accountable to its promise to end poverty, social exclusion and discrimination.

“We will send 25000 post cards with appeals to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commit a better world order. 90 per cent was already being sent to the Prime Minister,” he said.

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